Dog Training Blog
Post by: Kenzie on Feb 22nd 2018
Fake Service and Emotional Support Dogs
Fake service and emotional support dogs have become more and more of a problem in recent years. Make no mistake, these dogs are most definitely a real and important thing. People with physical disabilities or crippling emotional needs greatly benefit and deeply rely on them not just for comfort, but for survival. They're more than just a normal pet, they require service dog training and years of experience. So why and how are people getting away with using fake service dogs?
What Are Service and Emotional Support Dogs?
The Americans with Disabilities Act defines service dogs as animals that are trained to help people with severe disabilities and emotional trauma navigate their day to day lives. They do more than merely calm their owner with their presence, they use their training to make their owner's lives easier and more comfortable. Emotional support dogs, however, are only used to bring comfort to their owners. They are not required to be trained to perform any specific task for their owner. They are excluded from the ADA and do not quality as service animals, and are not granted legal access to all locations with their owners. Businesses and small entities set their own guidelines under the Fair Housing Act.
Why Fake It?
It isn't hard to see the temptation of faking a service/emotional support dog; bringing your pet with you everywhere you go is an appealing idea. Service dogs are allowed access to anywhere their owner goes, and emotional support dogs are often granted access to locations that normally would not allow pets. And it's this appeal that moves people to lie that their pet is a service dog or an emotional support dog.
How Are They Getting Away with It?
Nowadays, any pet owner can go on their computer and buy a vest to pass off their pet as a service/emotional support dog. The Americans with Disabilities Act makes no requirements for any licensing, registration, or documentation of service animals and emotional support animals. In fact, it does not allow businesses or individuals to ask for proof of a service dog. You can only ask two questions: Is the dog required because of a disability, and what tasks is the dog trained for? Other than those questions, scammers can easily get away with faking a service dog quite easily.
What’s the Harm?
Faking a service/emotional support dog has severe consequences. Aside from being illegal, fake service dogs give real service dogs a bad reputation. Service and emotional support dogs are specially trained to assist their owner with their disability, not be a hassle, and ignore distractions. Real service dogs are not an inconvenience, and are essential for their owner's well being. Fake service dogs have none of this training. They can cause huge disruptions, act out, and even distract actual service dogs from doing their job, which can be disastrous for their owner who relies on them to be completely focused at all times.
It's a nice idea to be able to take your dog wherever you want, but it is irrevocably wrong to fake a service or an emotional support dog. It's disturbing to people around you to bring your untrained pet where they shouldn't be, and it's especially cruel to those who actually need service dogs and emotional support dogs. Not only is faking a service dog harmful, it's also very illegal.
Do you have any questions or concerns? Contact Dog Training Elite today for professional , we're happy to help!